Southern Missionary Baptist Church
Attn: Pastor X. Thompson
4678 WestAdams Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
I am writing you and the entire Southern Missionary Baptist Church family to express my concern about the misinformation that is being spread about California’s SB 48, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act. This act is important to everyone as it gives our children the opportunity to learn that every community has contributed to the greatness of our society in diverse ways. Without this piece of legislation, we are all subject to our future being misinformed about the beauty of diversity.
When I look back over my own life and remember how in the public school system, I was taught that slavery “wasn’t all that bad” and being made to feel the contributions my ancestors made to our society weren’t really great, it makes me sad to think that there are African-American people like you and those you lead who would support the repeal of a law that makes that travesty the norm for our kids. It’s reprehensible that African-American people would support this immoral and racist agenda under the guise of standing up for morality.
As for “sexualizing history”… sir, nobody has said anything about sex but you and those who support your crusade. This law is CLEARLY about diversity in education. It’s important that our children know that our African-American ancestors who were slaves were NOT savages who were saved by the good Christian white people. They should know that the very Christianity you
preach and teach was forced upon our people after they were stripped their identity, language, culture, and religion so they could be controlled and enslaved mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It’s important that our children know that their Blackness, their Latin heritage, their Asian culture, and any other culture they may represent is not something that should divide us, but it’s what makes us beautiful and it should be celebrated. NOWHERE in this law is sexual behavior mentioned.
Contrary to your statements about homophobia, your stance on this issue IS homophobic. Homophobia is an irrational fear of homosexual people and the things related to theirlives. It is also a fear that one may indeed be homosexual. What’s so wrong
about our kids knowing that the organizer of the Civil Rights March on Washington, Bayard Rustin, was not just black but a same gender loving man? What’s wrong with our children knowing that people who are different from them can also be good people who do great things that change the world? Fearing that reality IS INDEED homophobic. Not only is that, to think and perpetuate the notion that all there is to same gender loving people is what they do in their bedrooms ridiculous. How dare we reduce an entire community to sex! It’s like saying all black people do is play sports, eat fried chicken and watermelon, have children out of wedlock and drain the economy of its resources with their laziness. Please remember that during the Reconstruction Era, black men were considered to be the greatest threat to white women, and black women were categorized as highly sexual. Black people as a whole were once reduced to sexual stereotypes.
Your act of asking those who support SB 48 to leave your church meeting was not only bigoted, and irrationally fearful, but
anti-Christian. When did Jesus (the one you are supposed to follow and imitate) EVER send anyone away from being close
to Him? I can’t find that in any Bible that I read. When did Jesus ever treat people that way?
My prayer for you is that GOD would open your heart and mind to see that what you are doing will have horrible consequences. Without SB 48, what’s to stop the government from mandating that ALL education relating to anything other than “American”
(or white) people is inappropriate and should never be taught in the classroom? What will that do to Native American History, Black History, Latin History, Asian History, being taught in the classroom? Whether or not we believe it, or accept it there are gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, transgendered, queer, questioning, intersexed and same gender loving people within ALL those
cultures. We all contribute greatness and beauty to our society. Who are we to rob our children of knowledge of that reality?
As co-founder of the OpREBIRTH movement (www.operationrebirth.com), I would like to invite you to further discuss this issue. We at OpREBIRTH are more than happy to have this conversation (not debate) with you in an effort to bring peace, heal this
divide, and to let the community know that we are more alike than we are different. At the end of the day, we all want the same things… to be loved, to be respected, and to be treated with fairness and equity. The only way we are going to grow as a people is if we stop being afraid of people who are not like us in every way. Now is the time that we stop being manipulated into letting our differences be used to divide us. We must stand together on the things that make us the same. It would be foolish for an entire generation to perish due to lack of knowledge, as a result of the fears and prejudice of people who should be teaching them how to love.
RuPaul’s Drag Race is one of my favorite shows on television. Anyone who knows me will be able to attest to that fact. I’m always intrigued by the Creativity, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent that most drag queens possess. Their being able to transform and create the female illusion is the ultimate for me. One of my favorite contestants this past season was Mariah Balenciaga. HUN-T WAS FIERCE!!! Mariah captured everything that is femininity and presented it with class, elegance and REALNESS. To me, she pays true homage to the feminine. To me, the realness factor is paramount.
One thing most drag queens have is quick whit and sharp tongues. It’s really an endearing quality. And I love the ones who “keep it real”. Keeping it real, one would assume would be defined as one always having the courage to be truthful, to walk in integrity. “Realness” would be a good thing. In a perfect world, whether in full geech or in real life, being able to truly serve realness should be something we all aspire to. But more often than not, like good drag, what is perceived as “realness” is just an illusion. For some people, their realness is just as deep as the makeup and costumes they would wear to lipsinc for their lives.
In this day and age, it seems like people actually prefer illusion to realness. What does it say about us? Have people become so jaded that we’d rather present and celebrate illusions than living authentic lives? Has “keeping it real” become an illusion itself?
Too often in gay culture, we see people say and do mean and hurtful things to other people. It’s normal. In fact the arrogance and cattiness is expected and seen as just a part of being gay. But does it really have to be that way? It’s one thing to read someone for pure filth because they are coming for you and you haven’t sent for them… that’s merely self defense. But it’s quite another to just be mean and hateful.
Usually the mean and hateful queens are truly insecure little boys (or girls) who are trying to present the illusion that they are grand. People who are ALWAYS in “reading mode” or are always catty are trying to hide something. They are trying to hide the fact that what they are presenting is not reality. In fact, their reality is too hard for THEM to deal with, so they treat others badly trying to make themselves feel better about their own lives. It’s really sad when you think about it. When it’s easier for a person to attempt to live their illusion than present a real person to the world, there’s a big problem. It’s dangerous for the lines of realness and illusion to be blurred.
One thing about drag, when it’s done well, it’s very entertaining. Being able to serve realness is indeed a beautiful thing. And from what I understand, one can make MAD coins. But when the music stops, when the deejay and the crowd goes home, and the lights go out, the illusion stops and real life begins. Sure, we all have a persona that we present to the world. Thing is, what we present to others should be the real us, not an illusion or a character we’ve created. If one truly has the courage, keeping it real is more beautiful than any illusion will ever be. If only more people understood that.
In the classic movie “To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar”, the late Ms. Vida Boheme taught us one valuable lesson that everyone must learn to live… REAL queens always use their powers for good, and in every situation, seek out the opportunity to help others. THAT my dear, is better than the best illusion. It’s realness at its finest.
This weekend I am out on a retreat in the mountains. Me and Hubz in a luxury log cabin, and the view outside our bedroom makes me celebrate how BIG GOD must be. It’s just so quiet out here. No sounds of the city, no sirens, no trains, no traffic… just peace.
Last night, it was so dark outside with no street lights or anything to illuminate the roads. In fact, it was so dark it made trying to drive through the mountains to reach the cabins very dangerous. No guard rails or anything to keep you on the road should you swerve or take one of the too many curves too fast. And it was so quiet my spirit couldn’t help but be quiet and rest.
This morning, WAY before I wanted to wake up, I went out and walked Lady Savannah, and for the first time, I felt dew between my toes. There must be at least 100 types of trees right out here. All of them speaking to how glorious diversity is. If only human beings could learn how to live and thrive together like the trees. The sun seems to shine a little bit brighter out here than in ATL. All the colors I see just seem so vivid. It’s absolutely beautiful. Breathing and relaxing seems to be a lot easier.
Right now, in this moment, looking at all the trees and the mountains, allowing myself to take in all this nature, I am in awe and asking GOD, “What lesson am I supposed to learn from all this? What are you going to teach me”? I am hearing Spirit say, “Uncover your light. Uncover your light”.
Inside me lies the same power that spoke into darkness and created everything that I am seeing here. I can create not just beautiful things that speak to the spirit, but entire environments that can inspire and bring peace. Somehow the light within that makes all that happen has been covered. Though covered, I’m thankful and relieved to know it’s still there.
Blood runs down
The tender thigh
Of a child
Of time spent
Spent in hell
With religious men
The innocent voice
Of this child
Who had no choice
Forced to go
Against his will
To spend time with
Now he’s older
Doing all he knows
Trying to hide
The pain he feels
The hurt within
Nowhere to turn
But to religious men
Alone he cries
In darkness he stays
Fraud every day
Just to survive
For all he stands
And plays the role
Of the religious man
He hates himself
His soul he’s sold
For earthly success
For what the world holds
Everything he hates
A religious man
For freedom he waits
Still the blood runs down
The tender thigh
Of this child
Of time spent
As a religious man
Today I discovered I am officially “older”. After sitting in on a workshop and being inspired by college students who are passionate about changing our society, I realized that in alot of ways I was just like them when I was their age. I think I more ways than one, I am still just like them. Watching them interact with one another ignited a fire in me that I thought was long gone.
I walked away from the experience with one glaring realization…the difference between me then, and them now is my respect for my elders. My realizing that people who were older than me; people who had more experience than me were (and still are) assets to me. They are an invaluable resource. Whereas these young men and women feel like everything they need to know, they already know. They feel they need no input from people who have “been there, done that”. In their operating with this attitude, they make their lives harder than they really have to be.
Back in my day, we were taught to respect our elders. Most of that was because the elders weren’t afraid of us. They didn’t fear reminding us what “a child’s place” was. They told us when we were wrong. They demanded their respect. And if need be, they most certainly didn’t mind opening up some SERIOUS cans of whoop-ass.
They taught us the importance of humility. They showed us what it meant to walk in integrity. We learned that community was a necessity. More than anything, we learned that when we were in public, we represented more than just ourselves, we represented THEM.
This all leads me to question whether or not we have failed our young people. Has our trying to empower them actually crippled them? Does our unwillingness to be strong disciplinarians send a message that we are weak? Have we created an environment where the next generation is raising themselves?
I think we need to revive the spirit of Big Mama and Pops. We should remember the lessons they taught us about having noble character. We need to start passing along what the elders put in us…the knowledge that above all things, it’s our responsibility to be honorable people.